The Teardrop Explodes – Reward (1981)

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In November 1980 Alan Gill left The Teardrop Explodes, claiming not to enjoy the touring lifestyle. Julian Cope would later praise him for his strong creative impact on both the band and its perspective, but also suggested that with the band’s growing success Gill had found himself “afraid to compete.” Gill was replaced by former Shake guitarist Troy Tate but by now Cope and Balfe’s abrasive relationship had worsened to the point that Balfe was ousted as group keyboard player, although he continued to be involved with management. As well as broadening the band’s sound and outlook, Alan Gill had brought in an all-but-complete new song before his departure, which he and Cope had reworked. This was released as the band’s next single, “Reward”. In January 1981, the song hit No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart (with the semi-estranged Balfe joining the band to mime trumpet playing during their Top of the Pops appearance). “Reward” was added to the tracklisting of a hastily commissioned Kilimanjaro reissue and the band found themselves to be rising mainstream stars, with the ever-quotable Cope a favourite for magazine interviews. The band relocated to London to take advantage of their growing success, although by now Cope was retreating into a drugged lifestyle and beginning “a period of unrestrained megalomania.”

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